Olympus: once again the megazoom master

No sooner did Kodak announce the record-setting 24x optical zoom Kodak Z980 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas than Olympus swooped in and took the crown back with a 26x optical zoom camera.

No sooner did Kodak announce the record-setting 24x optical zoom Kodak Z980 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas than Olympus swooped in and took the crown back with a 26x optical zoom camera.

The Olympus SP-590 UZ, a follow-up to the 20x optical zoom SP-570 UZ megazoom camera that resides atop our advanced digital cameras chart, boasts a 26x optical zoom that ranges from 26mm on the wide-angle end to 676mm on the telephoto end.

The impressive specs don't end there, with a 12-megapixel CCD sensor; full manual controls for focusing, aperture, and shutter settings; ISO equivalencies that range up to 1600; 29 shooting modes; in-camera editing features; face detection for up to 16 faces per shot; dual optical/digital image stabilization; and to top it all off, the ability to run on four AA batteries. It truly seems like Olympus looked to put the biggest number next to any spec category in the realm of point-and-shoots.

The Olympus SP-590 UZ is slated for availability in March for US$450, and for now, at least, it's the clubhouse leader in terms of optical zoom range.

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